Quotes by Erik Erikson

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We do not actually know how competent and industrious people between seventy and eighty years old can be in our society. In an agricultural economy, when they are healthy, they are able to bear a considerable portion of the necessary workload. Old men and women have continued to perform their customary chores until they were physically unable to do so. They sometimes did so of necessity, but more often they seem to have done so by choice. They not only felt useful and needed but actually were.

As grandparents, elders can contribute to the grandchildren's guidance and maintenance without being responsible for them. As grandparents, they can love, care for, and be helpful to the grandchildren--all without bearing the responsibility inherent in parental generativity. This freedom from middle age's responsibility for maintaining and perpetuating the world is central to the grand-generativity that characterizes old-age caring.